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Unique Problem

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    Unique Problem

    My car is acting up. The lights flicker and accessories turn off, mainly when engaging the clutch in 1st gear. I notice as well that the gas guage looks like its not getting a signal when this problem is prominent. It goes up when Im in 2nd or 3rd cruising. Ive just replaced the alternator, and know that its not ignition related. Im thinking maybe its a loose ground or shorting wire, maybe the gas guage sending unit is gone. Anybody had a similar problem? Any suggestions?

    #2
    Check grounds and check for shorts. Have you checked fuses?

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      #3
      I havent checked the fuses yet, Ill do that tonight. Are there any areas that I should check first for shorts? What I am thinking is that Ill take out the back seat, and that plate will expose the pump wiring and so on, is this correct? Is there any method to checking wires for shorts with a voltmeter? Thanks in advance.

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        #4
        So the car basically looses all power? It could be your ignition switch going bad.

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          #5
          Ive had my switch go out on me before, this seems kind of different. When my switch went before, the car wouldnt even stay running after the key moved back into proper position. With this problem, I can start the car, it will idle fine, just with a bit of fluctuation, every so often it drops down to 700 or so and the car shakes a little, and the injectors get louder. But as I start to go in 1st with my foot steady, the lights flicker, off and on, my stereo shuts off, and the car surges. I dont ever have to return the key. Thanks Dan, your car is the best.

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            #6
            latest details. the lights only dim when i press the gas. and after the warm idle is done, engine warm, the idle jumps on occassion from 1100 to 1700, and it sounds to me like it wants to go higher but is being restricted. Like I say, the gas guage, is way below E when I have these probs. I still havent gotten out the shop to work on it tonight, but ill keep you all updated, thanks for the help in advance.

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              #7
              a voltmeter would be rather dificult to use to test for shorts, what you want is a continuity tester (or anything else that will let you measure resistance). With that you just place the two ends onto the two points that you want to find out if their connected.

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                #8
                Its totally grounding related.

                Check and replace your main grounds.

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                  #9
                  Yeah, I had hoped to get all the testing done tonight, but got called to play hockey. Im going to check fuses, grounds, for shorts, and Im also going to check the sending unit since the gas level always reads below E when the problem is at its worst. Thanks guys, Ill update this thread tomorrow, more suggestions welcome.

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                    #10
                    I guess my check engine light doesnt work. I checked all the fuses, and then checked the ECU for codes, I got 4 and 8, so I guess Ill try to switch the distributor. Good thing I have a spare. Do these symptoms sound like this might solve the problem? Im going to switch it tomorrow.

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                      #11
                      got a friend with a g2? if so try swappin the ecu mine did somthin similar when the ecu went...

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                        #12
                        Tested the CKP sensor and TDC sensor today. Both were on spec, replaced the distributor anyways. I still have the problem. I followed all the wires to see if there were anyshorts. Somebody suggested maybe my ECU is screwed, are there any basic tests I can perform to rule that out, or in.

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                          #13
                          A couple more details, when idling warm, the car idles high for 12 seconds, and then bogs, slowly to about 800 or so, and then shoots back up to 1600 give or take. The ECU isnt throwing any codes anymore, but still have the same problem. I checked for grounds and tried to clean them a bit. Where might I find the alternator ground. They loom wires up pretty good from the factory. I still have to get a fuel pressure guage, been trying to borrow one for a week so I can see if Im up to par on the delivery of fuel.

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                            #14
                            after you replaced the alternator did you check the voltage?

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                              #15
                              voltage on the battery?

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                                #16
                                Double check ALL of your grounds to the engine and chassis, and make sure all of them are in good shape.. including the ones between the engine and body. This sounds like one of them is shot.

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                                  #17
                                  last night i checked all of my grounds, as well as added some extra grounding points in the engine bay. I checked the ECU grounds on the thermostat housing, the battery ground, and the engine ground. Are there any others I should check? small ones, elsewhere?

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                                    #18
                                    did you check the power wire from the alt to the battery??? if thats bad you will get those same symptoms.

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                                      #19
                                      I checked for continuance on both ends of the wire, is this the proper method, if not I will try replacing the whole thing.

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                                        #20
                                        I just got back from the shop, changed the alt power, no difference. Ive noticed a couple new things, not sure they are new, but didnt notice them before. The temp guage fluctuates when the lights dim, it shoots up. Also, the lights dim mostly at around 2000rpm, when engaging the clutch. I noticed that my charcoal canister vacuum line isnt hooked up, Im going to take a look at all of my vacuum lines tomorrow, is there any possibility that this might be the problem?

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                                          #21
                                          Im friggin pissed off. Im running out of ideas. Im going to get my battery load tested tomorrow, but somehow I dont think thats going to fix it. Ive changed my grounds, and all of my power supply wires. Is there anyway my capacitor could be affecting this? maybe its faulty. Im so frustrated, what next, I mean, the problem has to be electrical.

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                                            #22
                                            one thing I noticed that you had said is that you were checking for continuance at each end of whatever wires you were testing. You should also check what the wire is touching, for insance, if it was a battery ground test for continuity from the battery's terminal to the frame (sometimes there is paint on the frame, you'll have to find a good clean spot to get good results). You have said that this happens when you engage the clutch, if you shift rouph then that shakes the cables in the car. get a friend over, and while you test for continuity have them shake the wire gently (about as much as your shift would). if you see the continuity change drastically, their might be a break in the wire somewhere and it may need to be replaced (kinda a "your call" if it should be replaced or not, but wires are typically not that expensive, so I'd just replace anything that looks suspicious). make sure your not moving the continuity tester connections much while their shaking the wire though, if you do you may be just losing connection with the tester and the connection point your testing. Thats the... "ultra-throough" way to do it, but I have no idea what happens inside the actual engine control systems.

                                            For some more thought, from what I assume your engine isn't having trouble running when all this happens. The engine runs off it's alternator so even if you disconnect the battery the engine will still run, but the lights and the dash all run on a parallel circuit powered through the battery (the alternator, due to charging the battery, will power all of those items I just mentioned). This probably means that your engine grounds are good, it's a main ground near the battery (because if it wasn't near the battery, only a few of the lights etc would be affected, for instance every light is supposedly connected to it's own personal ground).

                                            I had/have (haven't confirmed I fixed it yet) a problem with my acura similar to yours and it was that the negative battery terminal was too small for the ground cable attachment (I got the car recently and I guess some half-ass person replaced the cable at some point with one that was too big for the battery terminal?). Make sure that's nice and clean, it can cause a lot of wierd things to happen as well. don't get your hopes up with that though, mine was exactly like I had just started my car (seat belt beeping noise, stereo turns on, all the lights blink to see if their backlighting is still working etc) and you don't seem to have that, so your problem is probably farther into the electrical system.

                                            if you know how to use schematics they have them in the Chilton manual, thats how I know that the stuff your having problems with "runs off the battery" and not the alternator (as I said, technically both, but a bad wire on the battery negates the alternator's effort to power the electricals in the car).

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